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To not give a lift to my sick neighbour(44 Posts)
I've been very careful and strict on social distancing during this Covid crisis. However my elderly neighbour was in a panic and asked me to take her to a&e the other day. She'd called 111 and they'd said it wasn't Covid. Her symptoms were the same as someone else I know who's had it (coughing up blood). The person who drove them to hospital also got infected. I told her this - reluctantly agreeing to drive - but she then did call an ambulance. Later she called me and asked me to collect her. I felt so sorry for her that I did, both wearing masks, car windows open, 7 minute drive, she in the back far side.
She is normally a very independent and private person, kind, an excellent neighbour and has never asked for anything before. They did tests which were inconclusive so there's to be follow up. They did not test for Covid!
I feel very conflicted as she seems suddenly very vulnerable and will need help. I expect she may ask me for a lift again. It is cruel not to help, but also stupid to risk my family being infected. I already feel worried and annoyed at myself for taking that risk. I feel annoyed at neighbour too for putting me in that position, but more compassionate as I know that to have asked she must have felt very scared and alone.
I think I have to keep a social distance from now on and say that if asked again. I dropped some home cooking around and can do that and help with shopping if necessary, but I can't give lifts. These are cruel times. AIBU? WWYD?
I would book to have a covid test done just to make sure you are ok. Friend of mine has hers done saturday morning and results were back sunday morning.
Is there a particular reason your family would be especially vulnerable to coronavirus?
I can’t imagine leaving an elderly neighbour to fend for themselves like that.
If you were both wearing masks in the car that seems very safe. It's better to help someone in need. Unless someone in your family is shielding then it was the right thing to do.
Well personally unless I was in a high risk category I would be helping her if she asked for a lift. She must be pretty terrified to ask in the first place.
However if you don't feel comfortable can you assist her by paying for a taxi? It would be a kind gesture and I'm assuming she asked you initially as she has no alternative and cannot access public transport or afford a taxi?
Can you try and find out if there are any local schemes for driving people to hospital, or call the hospital yourself and explain the situation and do they know of any RVS schemes or similar. There are lots of volunteer drivers who are still willing to drive (where I live anyway). Then you could give her the details.
You took all reasonable precautions so your risk is low. I’d be more concerned that your neighbour coughing up blood could be a sign of something more sinister rather than COVID. She must have been very worried and desperate to call you for help.
@tiny money isn't a problem for neighbour. I think it was more loneliness and fear.
@george I also think it could be more sinister. Which is why I think this could be longer term and why I need to think now about how best to help but also socially distance. I hope we are wrong.
The goodsam app does patient transport but the patient has to provide ppe for the driver. These are part of the 700.000 who signed up as nhs volunteers . Or call the council as they will have linked volunteers during covid. HTH
All I can say is love thy neighbour as thyself. If she was scared and lonely you were right to help even at risk to yourself, unless you are in the vulnerable category or shielding someone.
money isn't a problem for neighbour. I think it was more loneliness and fear.
Does she have any family? If this is looking to be a long term issue then she will probably need lots of support ? If not would it be possible to assimilate her into your bubble, only if you feel comfortable doing so? It must be awful being in her situation during normal times but at the moment the fear must be magnified hugely.
I'm not sure how real in practise all that voluntary support is unless you know different of your local schemes. Expecting people to provide sets of PPE is a bit much. Some of that 'help' sounds a bit virtual to me
What do you mean by sinister? It isn't sinister to need a helping hand.
Sorry, just read about her coughing up blood
I would be finding out if she has any family, if not contact Social Services for an assessment.
If she’s not short of money she can pay for help.
I think the nhs transport volunteers were thin on the ground during the height of it all but it does work. Or book patient transport from the hospital ? I do work in inner london where all these covid systems are working well, may not be the case elsewhere.
If you travelled as you said for 7 minutes risk of catching anything is very minimal. If you test positive they only trace people you had contact of less than 2 meters for 15 minutes plus.
joy it really does depend where you live, we don't live anywhere affluent or 'special' but a group of volunteers got a really good scheme up and running, all PPE is provided, plenty of support & drivers available (in fact there is waiting list for volunteers ).
If it is something more sinister then you aren't at much risk of catching covid from her. I imagine a sick elderly person isn't socialising much.
I've just done the same for an elderly neighbour. I didn't have masks on us when she called for a lift home, but being as I'd rushed into her house without one when she was mid-emergency, I just didn't think it was necessary. Our local hospital is 40 minutes away. Patient Transport won't bring her home (we've had to do this before) - really annoys me that an elderly vulnerable person is left stranded this far from home without support.
Thanks for the helpful information @hrh2020 @ragwort
There is no family nearby @tiny but DC in the UK 2-3 hours drive away.
@sally872 neighbour has been quite social up to now, and has seemed oblivious to risks which is partly why I feel conflicted. I'm shocked hospital hasn't tested - as I said I know someone who had same symptoms who was very ill with Covid.
I am not in high risk group but do not want to pass anything on to my own elderly relatives.
but you did give her a lift?
7 minutes with masks on and the windows open? sounds fine.
as to the future?
she may well not ask again op.
it is veyr mild for most people, are you especially vulnerable op?
It’s a difficult one but as an older person living alone (which I am ) I wouldn’t put my neighbours at risk. Ambulance there and taxi home. You might not be at risk but could pass it onto someone who is. Even those not at risk can end up desperately ill. My thinking is if I needed hospital treatment for anything that could possibly be COVID I’d need to go on my own no matter how scared I felt and not be involving anyone unnecessarily.
No, I wouldn't be giving lifts. Your own health and your family come first, and currently the government guidelines don't suggest lifts to non-family members is a good idea yet. For good reason.
While coronavirus is mild for most people, I've had it and it wasn't mild for me, I wouldn't risk having it again nor would I wish it on anyone else including my family. Just say very sorry, but no......
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